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Pitchers Continue To Fall

by Tom King

What the hell is going on in major league baseball? Elbows are being blown out in record numbers. the latest being Miami phenom Jose Fernandez..the best NL pitcher not named Kershaw. He will be the latest MLB pitcher to undergo Tommy John surgery this year. That's over 20 pitchers this year alone in a sport that averaged fewer than 16 per year between 2000 and 2011. One of my favorite baseball writers, Jayson Stark , examined the problem in a piece for espn.com back on April 22nd. The Braves lead the way with 8 pitchers having surgery since 2010. For some reason the Brewers are the only team that hasnt had a pitcher go under the knife. Medical staffs are trying to figure out why the numbers are way up and have no conclusive answers right now. Stan Conte, the head of the Dodgers medical staff refueses to call it an "epidemic" saying that 2012 (a record year) and this year are short blips and could be flukes. What the medical people are more concerned with is the increase in pitchers getting the surgery for a second time. From 1996-2011 there were 18 pitchers who had the surgery twice...since 2012 there have been 14. Some have suggested that recent pitchers have rehabbed too hard and too fast . Others say that the surgery has been made out to be a cure-all when it isnt. There are still pitchers for which it doesnt work. It could also be that comeback pitchers go back to the same flawed mechanics that got them in trouble in the first place. As Stark says, "the old joke in baseball when asked how to keep a pitcher from getting hurt...don't let him pitch" One possible reason for the plethora of problems at the big league level is the abuse that young arms get. The rise of year round travel teams, prospect camps where young pitchers overthrow to impress scouts and light up the radar guns...the almost criminal use of some pitchers at the big-time college level...raised velocity(the human elbow just may not be designed to throw a baseball that fast) , and maybe just the love affair with the surgery itself (getting TJ done as soon as any elbow problem surfaces). Whatever it is MLB teams will continue to search for an answer as their high priced pitchers keep going on the shelf wrecking seasons and careers as they go.

Watch for the Brewers to make some roster moves today. Hopefully Ryan Braun can return to the lineup as the Crew starts a series with the Pirates. Aramis Ramirez will probably go on the DL and Carlos Gomez will learn his suspension and probably have to sit out this week. Milwaukee is still tied for the best reocrd in the NL with the Giants. # home games against Pittsburgh before a 10 game roadtrip looms to Chicago, Atlanta and Miami.

Looks like the weather will play havoc with the high school schedule. We are scheduled to have a nice DH of baseball on Foxsports Radio AM 1390 & FM 93.9 today. East/West at 4:15 followed by DCE/Spash. We'll see if that happens.

Songs Of The Day (from my I-pod)

NaCl-Kate & Anna McGarrigle (1998) the song has been around much longer bu this is from an album called "The McGarrigle Hour" which pairs the sisters with some of their friends. This tune takes an interesting twist on the classic love story...after all it's just chemistry.

Nadine-Chuck Berry (1964) his comeback song after getting out of prison. He was close to the end of his hitmaking days but this song is said to have influenced Bob Dylan who was writing "Bring It All Back Home" at the time. This video is from a very well-made documentary on Berry done by Keith Richards...and yes that is him leading the backing band.